Gaming win sets record in March

Nevada casinos set an all-time record in March, raking in $930,331,735 in winnings statewide.

That is 11.5 percent more than in March of last year and more than $30 million more than the previous record set in January 2001.

Gaming Control Board analyst Frank Streshley said unlike most earlier record months, there's no clear explanation this time.

"Usually we see increases when large new properties open, but this time we actually had a couple of closures," he said. "It appears to be a reflection of the national economy, the California economy and our own economy picking up."

Five reporting areas in Southern Nevada including the Las Vegas Strip set records for earnings in the process. Strip casinos reported total winnings of $465.4 million - a 17.66 percent increase over last year. Also in double digit record increases were North Las Vegas, the Boulder Strip, Mesquite and the outlying portions of Clark County.

The Carson Valley reporting area, which includes portions of Douglas County and Carson City, logged its 11th straight positive month with an 8.9 percent increase to $8.86 million. Unlike most months, game and table play drove the numbers with a 12 percent jump while slots rose four-tenths of a percent.

South Lake Tahoe reported a 5 percent increase in win for March - $26.7 million total - but the numbers were the opposite of the valley with - a 13.1-percent increase in slots offset by a 9 percent drop in game and table win.

North Shore casinos reported a modest 1.9-percent increase to $2.6 million for the month. Slot play was off 2.7 percent but game and table winnings rose by 14.2 percent.

Washoe County casinos had their second straight positive month with a half-percent increase in total winnings to $85.7 million. But that is only the third positive month for Washoe since Thunder Valley casino near Auburn, Calif., opened.

Streshley said the numbers also make this first quarter of the 2004 calendar year the state's best since January and February are the third and fourth best win months in state gaming history.

"Clearly the state is benefiting from the resurgence and overall strength of Las Vegas but just as encouraging, we are now seeing signs of recovery in the other markets," said Gov. Kenny Guinn.

State officials have been concerned about gaming tax revenues lagging behind projections for most of the fiscal year but, with the last three months, Guinn said the state is now on track to finish above projections if the final three months of the year are good.

Thus far, collections for the fiscal year are 5.8 percent above the Economic Forum estimates used to build the state budget, totaling just under $567 million thus far.

That is more than 38 percent higher than the same period last fiscal year but the total includes a substantial boost from tax increases approved by the 2003 Legislature.

Contact Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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